Liar, by first-time novelist Yvon Justin Cote, is not your typical coming-of-age tale. There are no sappy love stories here. Liar tells the tale of Jason, a gay French-Canadian kid raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. He is basically a good kid, but gets mixed up with a bad crowd. He is sexually active at age seven, and becomes a gambling addict and thief at equally early ages. At 15, Jason breaks into an old man’s house and attempts to rob him at knife point. He fails, freaks out, and runs, hitching rides south, with the ultimate goal being Florida. The resulting novel is more On the Road than Dawson’s Creek.
Along the way, Jason makes friends, loses friends, has casual sex, falls in love. He matures quickly, and returns home to face the music. His punishment is probation, something which he sails through while waiting tables, saving towards his ultimate goal: his own restaurant.
Cote’s writing style is unique, kind of stream-of-consciousness. This works both for and against him. It is awkward at first, but once you find the rhythm, it is an easy read that really propels you through the pages. Unfortunately, emotion is completely lost with this technique. Jason, as narrator, will describe a night at a club as “the best night it was so fun,” and then a paragraph later talk about how depressed he is and how he should just kill himself. It was hard to become emotionally invested in the story. At the end, when he triumphs and gets his life on track, it just feels like an end. I can’t celebrate with him.
Yvon Justin Cote shows promise as a writer, but it isn’t there yet. I look forward to seeing what his next novel holds.
Liar is only available for sale through the website, LiarTheNovel.com.